My offseason is built primarily through trades. All trades were vetted through the Baseball Trade Values Trade Simulator to make sure the trades in theory make sense from a value standpoint. Arbitration salaries are from MLBTradeRumors Matt Swartz projections. Free agent signings are based on prior year salaries and some guesswork.
Trade 1: A. Nola, R. Hoskins, S. Muzziotti, L. Williams, K. Emanuel traded to A's for M. Olson, M. Chapman, S. Manaea, T. Kemp. This is a blockbuster deal, but fairly equal according to the simulator. The A's shed over $11 million in payroll while getting back enough key pieces to remain competitive in 2022. They receive a potential ace (although not based on the past few years) which goes a long way. If anyone can "fix" Nola, the A's have as good a shot as most (see C. Irvin). The Phillies pick up multiple good pieces. Major upgrades at 1B, 3B, LF, and equivalent production at SP given Nola's struggles over the past few years.
Trade 2: R. Marchan traded to Rays for K. Kiermaier, A. Shenton, J. Doxakis. Rays get a decent, controllable young catcher and a salary dump with Kiermaier. The Phillies get their CF and two minor leaguers to help replenish the farm system. Shenton is 3B which will be needed in a couple of years as Chapman goes to free agency. Doxakis is a LHP which a team can never have too much of. MLB.com currently lists these as the 19th and 20th best prospects for the Rays which means they likely sit higher for the Phillies.
Trade 3: A. Bohm traded to Mariners for M. Haniger, J. Sheffield, C. Phillips, G. Gonzalez, A. Fletcher. The Mariners need a 3B and have patience the Phillies lack to let him play. They also get good savings from Haniger who is free agent next year and clears a logjam in their outfield. The Phillies get a big bat in Haniger, a buy low on a once promising pitching prospect in Sheffield, and three minor leaguers to help restock the system. Phillips is a RHP with a plus fastball, Gonzalez is a solid OF prospect with multiple tools, and Fletcher is a LHP with good fastball. These prospects rank 8, 17, and 23 respectively, so no sure things but good depth for a depleted Phillies farm system.
Trade 4: D. Gregorius, C. Martin, A. Medina, C. Sanchez, $500 thousand cash traded to White Sox for C. Kimbrel. The White Sox have no use for Gregorius, thus the need to send 3 decent prospects and some cash to make them pull the trigger. The Phillies get their closer and dump Gregorius' salary. They take back more in salary from the White Sox, which gets decent prospects for their troubled reliever. This is the only trade that does not have somewhat equal value in the Trade Simulator, but only due to the fact that Gregorius is so negative. Thus, the 3 prospects and a little cash (I could not send more cash as I needed to stay at $195 million payroll).
FA Signing 1: F. Galvis signed to 1 year $1 million contract to be backup infielder and mentor to Stott. Galvis is good with the glove and great in the clubhouse. If Stott doesn't hold up, the Phillies could do much worse at SS.
FA Signing 2: J. Marsinik signed to 1 year $1 million contract to be backup OF, including CF, and provide some pop against lefties.
The projected starters are: C - Realmuto ($23.9), 1B - Olson ($12.0), 2B - Segura ($14.9), SS - Stott ($0.6), 3B - Chapman ($9.5), LF - Kemp ($2.2), CF - Kiermaier ($12.2), RF - Harper ($27.5), DH - Haniger ($10.0). Bench is: Galvis ($1.0), Vierling ($0.7), Stubbs ($0.7), Marsinik ($1.0). Marsinik, Vierling, and Galvis play CF/LF/SS against lefties. Stubbs backs up Realmuto. Haniger could see a little time in LF, but his defense is terrible so definitely spends most of time at DH. This is a very balanced lineup with both lefties and righties fairly equal. Defense is light years ahead of last year, and with the exception of Stott and Stubbs, veterans with good club house presence. Kemp also can play 2B to backup Segura when needed.
Projected starting pitchers are: Wheeler ($26.0), Suarez ($0.7), Manaea ($10.2), Eflin ($6.0), Gibson ($7.7). Falter ($0.7) is the swing guy and likely starts until Eflin is ready to go. Sheffield starts in AAA, but would swap with Falter if he isn't up to the task.
Projected relievers are: Kimbrel ($16.0), Alvarado ($1.9), Dominguez ($0.8), Coonrod ($0.7), Brogdon ($0.7), Nelson ($0.7), Sherriff ($0.7). Keeping in mind Falter is long relief once Eflin is ready. Until then, Sheffield or Falter takes this spot based on whomever doesn't win 5th starter job. There is good balance here from both right and left side with dominant closer (fingers crossed we get the Cubs version of Kimbrel). Coonrod, Brogdon, Alvarado, and Dominguez all have good experience so I don't see any reason to pay big bucks for additional bullpen help. Besides, outside of a handful of top end closers, most relievers are a pure crap shoot every year.
Total payroll is right at $195 million including the $5.5 million needed to buyout Cutch and Herrera, and the $0.5 million we are sending to the White Sox to help with that trade. If Middleton gave me a few million more, I would replace Marsinik with Pillar, and potentially bring back Neris on a one year deal as I would like that veteran presence. However, you play the cards you are dealt.
The big risk is Stott. He may not be up to the challenge of everyday SS. The bullpen is not the greatest either and will rise or fall on whether Kimbrel can be the shutdown closer we need. This team will score runs and the starters should be just as effective as last year with a better defense. Wheeler probably does a little worse, but a full year of Gibson in the 5 hole is a huge improvement over last year. One of the added benefits is Olson, Chapman, and Kiermaier are all controlled next year as well through arbitration or club option. Olson and Chapman are likely to be in line for additional raises so payroll will be a concern next year, but there is a some salary relief and arbitration decisions that could be made to mitigate. Also, should the team fall out of contention for some reason by late summer, there are a lot of high quality pieces that could be moved to restock the system. Plus, we keep the very few top end prospects we have.
I hate giving up Nola, Hoskins, and Bohm, but there is simply not enough money or high end prospects to fill all the holes we have with trades/free agency. All 3 are excellent, but flawed. Sometimes we have to take sentimentality away and make the best deals possible to improve the team as much as possible.